Rubio Again Advocates For Increased Federal Power At The Expense Of State And Local Conservation Autonomy, Impacting Businesses

Over the years, Senator Marco Rubio has gained a reputation for annually proposing amendments that could disrupt the balance of power between federal and state governments concerning wildlife conservation. His proposals, designed to enhance the powers of the federal government, have roused anxieties about eroding due process and threatening the livelihoods of animal and business owners throughout the U.S. and Florida.

These proposed amendments would provide unelected bureaucrats with considerable authority, empowering them to classify various animal species and regulate their movement. This shift is viewed as an intrusive overreach into public engagement, as it eliminates the need for public input, notice, or comment.

Rubio’s annually recurring “Lacey Act Amendments of 2023,” as described by the “Don’t Blacklist Pets” initiative, could drastically impact pet ownership and wildlife conservation. This legislation seeks to introduce a federal whitelist of animals permitted for import. Any species not included in this whitelist would automatically find themselves blacklisted, severely hampering pet owners and conservation efforts. Bureaucratic authorities would also be able to label at their discretion any animal injurious and that would forbid them from being transported interstate. It would also ban ownership in some states, even those where the species cannot become injurious. This injurious label can be applied overnight without any due process.

The current legislative landscape, both at the state and federal levels, allows for the importation of most animals, subject to restrictions designed to prevent the introduction of non-native or potentially hazardous species and also endangered species protection. Rubio’s proposal aims to overturn this system at the federal level, defaulting to blacklist all animal species not explicitly included on a federal exemption list.

Considering the staggering fact that Earth is home to over 8 million species, the potential consequences of this proposal are immense. Pets such as fish, amphibians, birds, small mammals, or reptiles that can currently be moved across state lines could suddenly be categorized as contraband. Violators could face federal prosecution, with unelected bureaucrats having the authority to enforce further restrictions.

This proposed legislation could lead to numerous complications, affecting various sectors:

  • Pet owners would be forced to surrender or euthanize their pets if they relocate out of state.
  • Animal rescue organizations would face restrictions when deploying to a neighboring state, as transporting animals back to their facilities could be considered a federal crime.
  • Medical researchers working on cures for diseases would see their work grind to a halt if they’re unable to import new animals.
  • Zoos would struggle to support breeding programs aimed at increasing the populations of endangered species if they can’t transfer animals to other zoos across the country.

Concerns about this legislation have led the American Veterinary Medical Association, representing the nation’s veterinarians, to voice their opposition. They realize that the proposal would limit access to treatment for wildlife and listed species, and create bureaucratic barriers requiring research institutes to obtain additional permits.

Dennis Misigoy, a Libertarian candidate for the US Senate from Florida, has been a vocal opponent of Rubio’s proposed amendments in the past. In a tweet, he characterized these amendments as emblematic of the worst aspects of our legislative establishment, highlighting Rubio’s repeated annual attempts:

“The Lacey Act amendments buried in the “America COMPETES Act” epitomize some of the worst of our legislative establishment: Expanding government power, especially that of unelected bureaucrats. Poorly thought out & poised to cause loads of harmful unintended consequences.”

Those interested in advocating for the freedoms of pet keepers and business owners can refer to the template provided by Don’t Blacklist Pets to express their concerns to their federal representatives. It can be found at the bottom of the page on 

Additionally, USARK has a 2023 template at:

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